"Conditions remain dangerous," Tennessee officials wrote+ READ ARTICLE
Despite rainfall, the so-called “Chimney Top Fire” that has blazed through more than a hundred buildings and displaced thousands overnight is still spreading through Tennessee.
The ongoing wildfire, which began in the Great Smoky Mountains, spread rapidly Monday night and forced more than 14,000 residents and resort-goers to flee Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA). The fires even burned down a Westgate Resorts location, according to the Orlando Business Journal.
In a stunning video shot by an evacuating resident, homes, cabins, and trees can all be seen engulfed in massive flames.
The fires, fanned by strong winds over 80 mph and prolonged drought, spread “unpredictably” despite efforts to tame the flames using helicopter water drops, a representative with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park wrote in a statement.
Three people were admitted to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville with severe burns, while a fourth person with burn on their face is still being evaluated at the University of Tennessee’s Knoxville hospital. No fatalities have been reported, according to TEMA.
“Even with the rain that is currently falling there, the fires continue to burn and structures remain engulfed with little hope that the rainfall will bring immediate relief,” a TEMA representative wrote in a statement.
Hundreds of firefighters and local and state personnel were dispatched to deal with the wildfire.
Country star Dolly Parton, whose theme park Dollywood was spared by the fire, also offered her condolences regarding her hometown’s plight.
“I have been watching the terrible fires in the Great Smoky Mountains and I am heartbroken. I am praying for all the families affected by the fire and the firefighters who are working so hard to keep everyone safe,” Parton wrote in a statement. “It is a blessing that my Dollywood theme park, the DreamMore Resort and so many businesses in Pigeon Forge have been spared.”